July 2016


"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

A couple of months ago something knocked out the power in Shafter (I never got the report of what happened). It was a spooky feeling looking out the window and seeing all the porch and city lights off. It was completely dark outside! Then, I remembered what Mert Wiedmann advised me some 29 years ago, “Always have several flashlights and plenty of candles on hand just in case the power goes out” (I guess Shafter has a habit of losing power). So that dark night, I proceeded through the ire darkness of the house to find some candles (Kim loves candles and always has some scattered around the house). There in the bathroom I found some candles and lit them. As I picked one up and proceeded to move from the back bathroom to another room in the house, an unusual thing happened- I heard a voice say, “Stop, I don’t want to go!”  What’s going on? Who’s talking to me? Am I dreaming? What is this strange phenomenon? I hesitantly spoke, “Who are you?”  The voice explained, “I’m the candle, and I don’t want to go into any other room.”  I looked down at the candle that I was holding as it was burning with a golden flame. It had a tiny face in the wax and then repeated his comment, "Don't take me out of this room." I told him that I needed to take him out of the room in order to give light in other rooms so we could see. The candle pleaded, "Don’t take me out! I'm not ready. I need to do more research on interior illumination so that I don’t make a mistake when I’m in public. I’m doing research on wick endurance, flames and wind velocity, and the durability of different kinds of waxes."  “Ok,” I said, “I won’t use you, because there are dozens of other candles around the house that would be useful.” 

I moved to the next candle and heard another voice say, “I’m not going either. I am a decorative candle.” What in the world is this candle talking about? But he went on, “You see, my purpose in life is to look good, not to shine.” Getting a bit upset, I rebutted, “But you are a candle, which means your purpose is to bear and distribute light,” (yes, I am talking to a candle). The little candle argued, “I know that is what I am supposed to do, but I would rather look pretty on a shelf- that’s where I feel secure.” 

Annoyed, I turned to the next candle and asked, “What about you?” The little candle sheepishly cried, “Please don’t make me go, I’m a broken candle. I came from a bad batch of wax and my wick is inferior.” I picked the little candle up and looked intently at it and noticed some imperfections, but someone had tenderly and lovingly fashioned that old wax into a beautiful candle. “Surely,” I said, “you must see how the creator has taken something old and discarded and has fashioned it into something new and purposeful. You should shine bright for your creator.”  But sadly, the little candle was too downtrodden to believe me.

Frustrated, I moved to the last candle and said, “How about you? Do you want to light up the world so others can see?” And for the fourth time I heard, “Nope, I can’t go because my spiritual gift is encouragement, not light shining. I need to stay here and sing to my friends to encourage them to be the best candle they can be!” Then the little candle began to sing "This Little Light of Mine."  With that, I had all I could take with the little argumentative candles and blew them out. Walking out of the bathroom I was frazzled, confused, and dumbfounded as I bumped into a dresser. What good is a candle if you can’t use them for light?

Do you ever think that God is frazzled and confused with us? Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). God has created you and me to be light bearers- to illuminate Jesus Christ and His truth to others. Therefore, we should put all our excuses aside and go out and shine our little light for Jesus Christ.

Pastor Mike Kotrla